Chicken Facts



  • Turkeys, chickens, geese and ducks are all kinds of poultry — farm birds bred to provide meat, eggs and feathers.
  • Chickens were first tamed 5,000 years ago, and there are now over 200 breeds, including bantams and Rhode Island reds.
  • Female chickens and turkeys are called hens. Male chickens are called roosters or cockerels. Male turkeys are toms. Baby turkeys are poults.
  • The wild turkey of North America lives in forest and scrub, where it feeds on the ground eating seeds, nuts and berries. At night it flaps in branches to rest.
  • Roosters are renowned for their noisy cries every morning as the sun comes up. This harsh cry is called a crow.
  • To keep hens laying, their eggs Must be collected every day. If not, the hens will wait until they have a small clutch of eggs, then try to sit on them to hatch them.
  • Battery hens spend their lives crowded into rows of cages called batteries inside buildings.
  • Free-range hens are allowed to scratch outdoors for insects and seeds.
  • Chickens raised only for eating are called broilers.
  • Turkeys are a kind of pheasant. There are several species, but all are descended from the native wild turkey of North America, first tamed by Native Americans 1,000 years ago.
  • Male turkeys have a loose fold of bare, floppy skin called a wattle hanging down from their head and neck.
  • All domestic chickens are descended from the wild red jungle fowl of India.